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Mon Jul 9, 2018, 07:59 AM

Wise Alternatives: Abba Eban on Israel's Ethical Failure

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by DonViejo (a host of the Editorials & Other Articles forum).

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/wise-alternatives-abba-eban/

Abba Eban, Israel’s Foreign Minister at the time of the Six Day War in 1967, was ambivalent about it. I know this because – full disclosure – he was my uncle and we had several conversations about it. While he was jetting back and forth between Washington DC, New York and Tel Aviv in a desperate diplomatic attempt to avoid the war, he stopped off in London or Paris. Long-haul jets didn’t have the range they have now, and members of the family saw him at my grandmother’s flat. Because of the recent horrific events on the Gaza border I’ve been thinking about him again.

Israel had been under constant military threat, but Eban always saw war as the last resort. Afterwards, although he subsequently defended Israel’s right to self-defence with some brilliance at the UN and elsewhere, he knew that the West Bank would have to be returned to the Palestinians, just as the Sinai peninsula was returned to Egypt. Above all, he knew that Jerusalem should be shared. He hoped Israel’s victory in a war that he did everything in his power to avoid could be used as a bargaining chip, but Israeli religious zealots and the presence of the settlers made it impossible.

...Eban believed that there is plenty of room in Palestine for the two peoples with historic connections to the land. He was always aware that the Holocaust and the founding of Israel could be likened, as Isaac Deutscher put it, to a man jumping out of a fourth floor window of a building on fire and landing on a passer-by, breaking his arms and legs. He maintained secret and cordial relationships with a number of Arab leaders over decades, and for the last twenty-five years of his life believed that peace with Israel’s neighbours was a real possibility if Israel could get the settlers out of the West Bank and learn to share Jerusalem.

...In his last years, before Parkinson’s disease made him mute, Eban argued strongly that Israel was headed towards an apartheid system, that demographics meant inevitably that the Arab population of Israel would exceed the Jewish population, and that no army of occupation – from the Romans to the Soviets – had ever succeeded in maintaining control over a hostile population. In the end, all armies of occupation fail. Hostile journalists tried to discredit him, referring to him as “South African-born Abba Eban”, to associate him with the apartheid that he was warning Israel against. “I was born in South Africa,” he agreed, “but I decided to leave there when I was seven months old.” He had been brought up as a British citizen before settling in Israel in 1948...



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Reply Wise Alternatives: Abba Eban on Israel's Ethical Failure (Original post)
BeyondGeography Jul 9 OP
Cary Jul 9 #1
BeyondGeography Jul 9 #2
Cary Jul 9 #3
BeyondGeography Jul 9 #5
Cary Jul 9 #6
BeyondGeography Jul 9 #7
Cary Jul 9 #8
Cary Jul 9 #9
BeyondGeography Jul 9 #10
Nitram Jul 9 #12
Cary Jul 9 #13
BeyondGeography Jul 9 #17
Cary Jul 9 #18
BeyondGeography Jul 9 #20
Cary Jul 9 #14
Cary Jul 9 #4
Nitram Jul 9 #11
Cary Jul 9 #15
Nitram Jul 9 #16
Cary Jul 9 #19
DonViejo Jul 9 #21

Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 08:24 AM

1. Odd.

I don't see anything here about Eban speaking of "Israel's ethical failure." Not even close.

Do you consider distorting the words of others to be ethical?

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Response to Cary (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 08:35 AM

2. It's what comes up when you search the article

And maybe it gets a few more people to read than if one just goes with “wise alternatives.”

I’ll sleep ok tonight. Thanks.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 08:40 AM

3. So what comes up in Google trumps the plan meaning of the article?

I didnt ask how well you will sleep. I asked whether it mattered to you that you misrepresent a quote and it seems that you admit your misrepresentation, blame someone else, and don't care.

That's unfortunate.

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Response to Cary (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 08:55 AM

5. Clearly this is an issue of overriding importance

Much more so than the disaster of Israel’s expansionism.

Priorities!

Oh and:

In response to his ethical criticism, the Labor Party (Mapai) dropped him as a candidate in 1988 and he was forced out of the Knesset. In America, where he had once been a hero to Jewish audiences, they now heckled him when he spoke about peace and human rights. Many Jewish Americans seem prepared to fight to the last Israeli. And as successive Israeli governments moved inexorably towards the Right, towards theocracy and militarism and away from social democracy, he was shut out everywhere. I believe that he died a deeply disappointed man.

Abba Eban understood the essential Arab point of view: “Your forefathers may have lived on this land but my grandfather lived on this land”. It is a tragedy for Israel and the world that the Israelis turned their backs on him.


There is nothing wrong with the thread title.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 09:12 AM

6. The truth is important.

I should think #Hitler and his cult followers would be proof positive of that.

I agree with Eban. Do you? I mean with what he really said. Of course inherent in his words is a fundamental underlying notion that Israel needs to exist and too that Palestinians pose an existential threat.

And his words are historical. He didn't have our perspective. Egypt wanted the Sinai back in the worst way. Why do you suppose Egypt wants no part of Gaza, and Jordan wants no part of the West Bank?

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Response to Cary (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 09:18 AM

7. You, my friend, are all over the map

As to the one clear thing you said/asked, Israel clearly has the right to exist. Not sure where you’re going with the rest.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 09:29 AM

8. I was clear

Again you blame someone else. Your failure to understand is your failure.

I asked you direct questions, in plain English. Why don't Egyptians want Gaza back? Why don't the Jordanians want the West Bank?

Who told you that the Arab Crises wasn't complex? It's been going on for thousands of years. But do try to answer those two questions. Keep in mind that Palestinians were created by Yasser Arafat, an Egypitan born Arab, and Nasser after the 1967 war.

He also had a fortune in Swiss bank accounts when he died.

These are facts.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 09:36 AM

9. But where I am going is...

There is no simple answer. There are some excellent, albeit dry, books. Paris 1919. The Peace to End All Peace.

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Response to Cary (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 10:05 AM

10. Just read Benny Morris' 1948

Which I also recommend. What that book showed among other things was the massive comparative advantage gained through Israel’s ability to put all of its resources in the service of a clear mission, the creation of a Jewish state, and the disadvantage of Arab fragmentation and their relatively weak notions of nationhood which always took a back seat to self-interest. These elements remain in place.

Of course there is no simple answer. But people shouldn’t be so weak-minded as to throw in their lot with right-wing xenophobes every time their POV is challenged. Either you lean in the direction of a two-state solution or a right-wing ethnocracy. Eban is worth remembering because he saw that unhappy choice coming from decades away.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 11:18 AM

12. Well put, Geography.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:20 PM

13. You still didn't answer my questions.

All of the 22 Arab nations are corrupt and nasty dictatorships. Why? Because the British arbitrarily divvied up the Middle East and ancient tribal hatred persisted. The Arab Israeli conflict was never more than a side show, for the vast majority of Arabs, and a point that most could agree on.

There are 1.2 million Arab Israeli citizens who live way better than most Arabs in Arab nations. You won't find 1.2 million Jews living in all of those Arab nations, and the ones who did were severely repressed.

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Response to Cary (Reply #13)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:37 PM

17. What are you going on about?

Before Israel there WERE over a million Jews living mostly peacefully and often prosperously in Arab nations. With the creation of Israel, they went from being an influential minority to a persecuted one, often forced to flee cities were they were thriving commercially to agrarian outposts in Israel where they had to start all over again.

If Arabs are inherently evil, why were so many Jews able to live alongside them for centuries? The big change was Israel, which was the result of European, not Arab, anti-Semitism.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #17)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:45 PM

18. Where did I say Arabs are inherently evil?

Actually those Jews were getting their heads beaten in.

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Response to Cary (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:10 PM

20. Not always; they were by definition second-class citizens

but discriminatory laws were not enforced identically in every place and in every period; they were not always severely repressed. You can say Jews can never live alongside Arabs in their countries today, but that was not always the case.

Good article on that here:

https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-the-inconvenient-truth-about-jews-from-arab-lands-1.5250159

...the life of the Jews in the Islamic lands was no paradise, but neither was the life of the Muslims a paradise in the Islamic lands, unless they were close to the government. And above all, the life of the Jews in the Islamic countries was never the hell of the Jews of Europe. Never at any point in history.





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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:24 PM

14. I explained why your thread title was a misrepresentation

Your decree isn't a rebuttal and your evasion is wholly unimpressive too.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 08:42 AM

4. This is truly unfortunate.

My Israeli friends are quite liberal yet they are Trump supporters because of stuff like this.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 11:15 AM

11. I agree. A wise man.

Too bad Israel has put their own Trump in charge.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:29 PM

15. Shimon Perez put it all on the table

The Palestinians rewarded him with an intifada. To this day they fire rockets into Israel every day. It's too easy for you to criticize from your safe life. I despise Bibi but I do understand why he's in office.

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Response to Cary (Reply #15)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 01:36 PM

16. My safe life? Your assumptions about my life are as arrogant as they are unfounded.

Up grew up in South American countries where guerrilla movements were active. If you despise Bibi then you agree with me. Like Trump, Bibi was elected by people who are afraid.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 02:47 PM

19. And right now you are safe

Thanks for.confirming my assumption.

Israeli supporters of Bibi are not like #Hitler cult followers here. It's just arrogant and self serving of.you to assume that.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2018, 03:32 PM

21. Locking...

From the SOP of the Editorials & Other Articles Forum (emphasis added):

Post excerpts from articles, blogs, and other recently-published material related to politics, issues, and current events. No posts about Israel/Palestine, religion, guns, showbiz, or sports unless there is really big news. No conspiracy theories. No whining about DU.


Forum Hosts feel the news in this OP is not about really big news and is more appropriate for the Israel/Palestine Group.

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